Climate Change & Greenhouse Gases
“Climate change” captures the defining environmental issue of the 21st Century. We assist clients in their assessment of the best way to generate or purchase power, whether from fossil fuels or from zero-carbon sources. Our work on greenhouse gases includes assistance dealing with direct regulation of fossil fuel-fired utilities and other boilers, as well as work on cap-and-trade systems, carbon taxes, low carbon fuel standards, and efforts to capture and isolate carbon emission (known as “carbon sequestration”). We also help clients assess “green” or “sustainable” business practices to ensure compliance with a complex and evolving set of law, regulations, and related business considerations.
We have significant experience in carbon regulation, in both the utility and industrial sector, as follows:
- Advising utility and industrial clients on federal regulations and policies to address the causes and impacts of climate change, including:
- The endangerment finding related to emissions of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases (GHGs) and the Tailoring Rule, which addressed Title V and major source permitting for GHG emissions.
- The Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule.
- The proposed New Source Performance Standards for new, modified and reconstructed electric generating units and the proposed guidelines for Existing Source Performance Standards.
- Federal regulations concerning the Underground Injection Control for the sequestration of carbon dioxide.
- U.S. EPA’s development of new standards and guidelines to protect watersheds, wetlands and other water infrastructure in light of climate change.
- Advising utility and industrial clients regarding state initiatives to establish carbon trading schemes such as the Western Climate Initiative and the Midwest Governor’s Climate Initiative.
- Representing a utility client in obtaining necessary regulatory approvals relating to a $7 billion generation expansion program, which included the construction of 1100 MW of natural gas-fired generation, the construction and subsequent modification of 1230 MW of supercritical pulverized coal-fired generation and the construction of a 50 MW biomass cogeneration facility. This representation included:
- Assisting a client during the development of Environmental Assessments for natural gas generation and coal-fired generation projects required by state law and defending those assessments in subsequent judicial review proceedings in a proceeding brought in part to challenge the climate change impacts of the respective facilities.
- Assisting a client in obtaining a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the construction of the coal-fired generating facility, which included consideration of the impact of future carbon regulation scenarios on the economics of the project and defending that authorization in subsequent judicial review proceedings.
- Assisting a client in obtaining two of the first Best Available Control Technology (BACT) determinations for greenhouse gas emissions for the biomass facility and the modified coal generating facility.
- Identifying and retaining consultants for industrial clients to evaluate potential impacts of cap and trade or carbon tax policies on their businesses.